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Let It Go

Downsizing Your Way to a Richer, Happier Life

By Peter Walsh
12-minute read
Audio available
Let It Go by Peter Walsh

Let It Go (2017) is your guidebook to decluttering and downsizing your home. It offers practical advice on separating what we should keep and cherish from what’s holding us back and should be unloaded. It also challenges many of the negative impressions people have about downsizing, and encourages us to reframe the process as a positive and cathartic experience.

  • Hoarders who struggle to let go of their possessions
  • Adult children who have inherited cluttered homes from their late parents
  • Anyone in the process of moving homes or downsizing their current home

Peter Walsh is a popular organization specialist who has hosted several TV shows on the topic, including Extreme Clutter and Clean Sweep. He’s also a regular guest on the Rachael Ray Show. Walsh’s thinking was deeply influenced by his first-hand experience of downsizing his childhood home after his parents passed away. He’s the author of seven other titles, including the New York Times bestsellers It’s All Too Much and Enough Already.

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Let It Go

Downsizing Your Way to a Richer, Happier Life

By Peter Walsh
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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Let It Go by Peter Walsh
Synopsis

Let It Go (2017) is your guidebook to decluttering and downsizing your home. It offers practical advice on separating what we should keep and cherish from what’s holding us back and should be unloaded. It also challenges many of the negative impressions people have about downsizing, and encourages us to reframe the process as a positive and cathartic experience.

Key idea 1 of 7

The possessions we accumulate throughout our lives can become a burden.

As we move through different stages in life’s journey, we pick up a few material hitchhikers along the way. These include the clothes we wear, the devices we use, the furniture we decorate our homes with, and all the other things – big and small – that come into our possession over the years.

Collectively, the great cargo of items that we accumulate and carry with us through life constitutes our material convoy. This convoy tends to grow as we get older, usually peaking around middle age.

Many of the objects in our material convoy are well-used and well-loved. In fact, we often exhibit an absurd loyalty to things that may seem worthless to other people. The author once spent more time trying to convince someone to part with an old t-shirt than surgeons often spend convincing patients to part with an organ.

Much of what makes up this convoy, however, isn’t loved and isn’t used. This is the clutter that piles up in our closets, attics, and under the sink. Clutter is that excess stuff in our homes that seems to grow of its own accord – and in the case of what’s under the sink, probably actually does.

Everyone carries some clutter through their lives. But for many people, clutter is all they carry. These are the people desperately in need of a downsize. That’s because clutter is more than just a nuisance; it’s a hindrance to your success.

Clutter can prevent doors from opening – and not just the literal doors in your home, but the figurative ones in your life too. Stuff tends to anchor you in place. This prevents you from jumping at opportunities when they come your way, like a job offer in a different city. In one US study, 78 percent of people around the age of 60 reported feeling reluctant to move homes because of all the stuff they owned.

It can also be very expensive to own a large material convoy. The cost of keeping your belongings in storage, or of shipping them across the country, can often exceed the value of the belongings themselves. The author worked with one family that was still paying rent on a unit 20 years after putting a deceased grandmother’s things in storage.

All that excess baggage you’re lugging through life isn’t doing you any good. The time you spend moving, arranging, cleaning, and fixing stuff could be better allotted to building loving relationships and having meaningful experiences. 

That’s why, instead of allowing things to pile up on top of you, you need to learn to let them go.

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